Rio Bravo Conservation and Management
Established in 1988, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area has accumulated enough land over the years to become the largest terrestrial conservation area in the country that amounts to four percent of all of Belize. On top of this, Rio Bravo is one of the most open conservation areas, and tourists can even stay on property for days or weeks at a time to pitch in and help with conservation efforts.
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary (CTWS) contains a mosaic of wetland and terrestrial habitats, which make it one of the best birding destinations in Belize. From the commonly seen Northern Jacana to the elusive Sungrebe, Crooked Tree offers an enjoyable experience for birders of any skill level. With 16,400 acres of lagoons, creeks, logwood swamps, broadleaf forest and pine savanna, you will be sure to see a wide array of wildlife. The Sanctuary protects globally endangered species including the Central American River Turtle (locally known as Hicatee), Mexican Black Howler Monkey, and Yellow-headed Parrot.
A protected area and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve and National Park is a wildlife park and habitat that spans a diverse collection of habitats, allowing visitors to learn how varied the landscape of Belize truly is.
Golden Stream Corridor Preserves
The Golden Stream Corridor Preserve is a 33,384-acre nature preserve. The region makes up one of the last stretches of rare lowland tropical broadleaf forest which serves as a valuable conservation corridor linking the extensive protected areas in the Maya Mountains to the north (Maya Mountain Forest Reserve, Bladen Nature Reserve and Chiquibul National Park) with the Port Honduras Marine Reserve.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary / Jaguar Preserve
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as “Jaguar Preserve” or Jaguar Reserve and is located in the Mayan mountains area, Cockscom Basin covers about 100,000 acres of tropical forest and rises to about 300 to 3,675 at the summit of Victoria Peak. Most of its protected acres are east of the South Highway between Dangriga and the return to Placencia. The entrance to the sanctuary is the village of Maya Center which is located at mile 15 on the south road at Stann Creek.
Playa Maya is a very small and quiet coastal community on the Placencia peninsula, which consists of a long and clean strip of sand, beach chairs, wooden docks that stand out in the sea and hammocks hanging between palm trees. Visitors who come here do so to relax, sunbathe and eat fresh seafood in one of the few beachfront restaurants. Of the three beach towns on the Placencia peninsula, Maya beach is the most serene.
Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
Offering a bit of a respite from the hotter lowlands, Mountain Pine Ridge is one of the most heavily visited reserves. As the oldest and largest protected forested area in Belize, Mountain Pine Ridge (MPR) covers 300 square miles of area, but visitors are surprised to find a sharp contrast to the tropical landscape; here, pine needles rather than palm fronds, fill the landscape.
Laguna Cave is about an hour hike from Laguna Village. Leaving the village, you must cross a small stream. The first stretch of the trail lies over hilly grounds and through secondary forest. Entrance to Laguna CaveCacao orchards are present along the way. Guides point out the jippi jappa tree and the jackass bitters. The jippi jappa tree is used for both food and crafts. The heart of the tree is eaten and the leaf is used for weaving baskets. Jackass bitters is a medicinal plant used to cure belly aches and malaria.
Waterfall of the Hidden Valley
Hidden Valley Falls is a legendary group of waterfalls in Belize, located in the territory of the Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve. The height of the waterfall is 457 meters, it is incredibly beautiful and, in combination with the surrounding landscapes, it is a fantastic show. The area, where the waterfall is located, is unique from the botanical point of view. The mountains surrounding the falls are covered with pine trees. Nowhere else on Earth do the pines grow so close to the equator.